I hear the tip-tap of her shoes as she walks to my table, her usual mug of something firmly in hand. She sits without invitation. I hate that. Most people are polite enough to ask, but does she? Of course not, shes too privileged for that. She knows I cant get mad at her or deny her anything. Im always too afraid shell act like a skittish deer. Better to man up and deal with her than to act out and send her running off, probably never to return. Good help is hard to find; in her field, its a miracle.
I continue to sit there, eyes on the screen, clicking away at the keys to try and finish what Im writing. She seems content to sit and stare at me in silence, at least for the moment. Theres a certain something soothing to that rhythmic click of the keys, and she seems to appreciate it more than ordinary people would. Then again, Ive never been enough of a fool to peg her as ordinary. If she were ordinary, Id have run her off long ago. Thankfully, we were matched up perfectly. That was how I normally thought of it, anyway. Its at times like this, though, when I seriously want to finish something, that her silent staring unnerves me the most.
So youre finally finishing something, huh? She asks too casually.
No thanks to you, I say back with the same calculated calm.
Silence. I tense, wondering for a moment if this will be the time she finally gets up and doesnt come back. My whole body relaxes as she chuckles softly and takes a sip from her mug, leaning back in her chair to get comfortable. You say that till you get to the last page and come crying to me on your knees. Like always.
You know, Im pretty sure most muses help their clients through the whole writing process, not just kick them off at the start and drag them over at the finish, I say absently.
She laughs and I feel my eye twitch at the mock, Youve got to earn the good ending Im gonna give you. Im not a babysitter wholl drag you along the whole way. You arent Hemingway, so dont think Ill treat you like it.
I shake my head and chuckle, hitting the last keys with a flourish before the tedium of saving the file. The progress bar starts its short, blue trek across the screen and I finally look up at her. Long black hair, a dark tan, and eye make-up that looks lifted right off a painting from King Tuts tomb. She continues to drink whatevers in her mug as I stare at her, elbows on the table and hands intertwined beneath my chin.
Something on your mind, Boss? She asks with too much confidence. She knows Im working on a comeback, but shes left me a little late on the draw.
I was just wondering, Niro, I begin straight-faced, pausing for effect.
With the mug half way to her lips, she drops it back down into her cupped hand, looking at me as I use her name finally. Yeah?
Are you really Egyptian or is that just a very good spray-on tan? I cant resist a smirk as she just starts laughing whole-heartedly. Were too close to be able to offend one another, and after the few weeks weve been apart its always good to break the ice with something. Normal people call it hateful, we call it love.
You know, most people would compliment someone they want a favor from, she says before finally getting another sip from the mug.
I am complimenting you! I insist, only to get an incredulous look from her. I mean, most women who do spray tans would be honored to be mistaken for Egyptians. That earns me a hit, but its only half-hearted. Hopefully wont leave a bruise, but I can never tell with her. Now about that last page
I say, smiling as innocently as I can as I wave toward the computer screen.
She rolls her eyes and sets the mug down on the table. A muses work is never done, she grumbles as she scoots her chair over to my side of the table.